Author Topic: The Snowshoed Sibelius  (Read 345681 times)

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Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2740 on: January 16, 2021, 05:35:03 AM »
"Lobgesang" was treated and classified as a "choral symphony" for ~150 years. Do you think we have in the last ca. 20 years (the new edition that puts it with the choral pieces rather than the symphonies stems apparently from 2009) discovered that this had been wrong all the time in the same or a very similar sense it had been wrong all the time to classify whales as fish?
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline aukhawk

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2741 on: January 16, 2021, 08:25:47 AM »
Given that there is no definition of "what is a symphony?" that encompasses all the symphonies out there while at the same time excluding all the non-symphonies - there were a couple of snippets from the last 2 pages of discussion that I really liked:

...  You could consider tone poems as a poem and a symphony as a novel.  ...  and in general a novel is a work of sprawl with multiple characters, arcs, and an ultimate resolution through struggle.

That's a wonderful description which seems true of many or even most symphonies.  Though not Sibelius' 7th of course, which is more a work of distillation.

Also I liked:

... remember the word "Symphony" has a lot of germanic baggage linking it to Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Brahms, Bruckner, Mahler, etc.,

Online Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2742 on: January 16, 2021, 11:18:36 AM »
"Lobgesang" was treated and classified as a "choral symphony" for ~150 years. Do you think we have in the last ca. 20 years (the new edition that puts it with the choral pieces rather than the symphonies stems apparently from 2009) discovered that this had been wrong all the time in the same or a very similar sense it had been wrong all the time to classify whales as fish?

Yes.

When do you think we noticed how many symphonies Dvořák wrote? It took a long time to fix what the publishers had done.

If you want to keep preferring what the publishers wanted over what Mendelssohn wanted, that’s your business, but given that part of this conversation has been about how composers decide what to call a piece, I would have thought it was highly relevant to point out that Mendelssohn didn’t call it a symphony.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2021, 11:21:32 AM by Madiel »
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Offline relm1

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2743 on: January 16, 2021, 05:11:53 PM »

That's a wonderful description which seems true of many or even most symphonies.  Though not Sibelius' 7th of course, which is more a work of distillation.


The "Though not Sibelius' 7th of course, which is more a work of distillation." is debatable.  First, what do you define as "distillation" in this context? 

Offline Brian

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2744 on: January 19, 2021, 09:10:06 AM »
Mendelssohn didn't call Lobgesang a symphony, and it is no longer catalogued as such.
Wait, really? Even very recent Mendelssohn symphony cycles (like Manacorda or Gardiner/LSO) include it, with numbering.

Offline OrchestralNut

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2745 on: January 19, 2021, 09:28:35 AM »
Wait, really? Even very recent Mendelssohn symphony cycles (like Manacorda or Gardiner/LSO) include it, with numbering.

Yes, I was surprised to hear this too, Brian.

Offline Jo498

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2746 on: January 19, 2021, 09:29:55 AM »

If you want to keep preferring what the publishers wanted over what Mendelssohn wanted, that’s your business, but given that part of this conversation has been about how composers decide what to call a piece, I would have thought it was highly relevant to point out that Mendelssohn didn’t call it a symphony.
Be careful what you wish for. Mendelssohn didn't want his "5th symphony" (the "Reformation symphony") to be published at all...

My recording of Lobgesang (Spering) "Symphony No. 2" on the spine "Symphonie Lobgesang" on the title, "Lobgesang eine Symphonie-Cantate Nr. 2" on the back (the Nr. 2 does not really make sense here because there is no earlier numbere Symphony cantata). So they apparently could not decide (and the booklet is a mess with several empty pages, apparently a mistake but the pages I described seem regular).

I don't care either way in which volume Lobgesang is edited or how it is called.  But I think it is not very helpful to think that whether it is a symphony or a cantata (or something else) could simply or decisively be settled by what's on a title page, regardless of whether the composer or the editor is responsible. In either case it would be a quite unusual exemplar of its kind and while there is an obvious precedent of a choral symphony with three instrumental movements before the vocal parts and this fact was probably relevant for the publisher's/editors decisions until the day before yesterday, I am not aware of a cantata with three symphony movements at the beginning although many baroque cantatas do start with a short sinfonia which was certainly known to Mendelssohn and might have been
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Online Madiel

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2747 on: January 19, 2021, 12:06:43 PM »
Again, wasn’t this entire conversation DRIVEN by the question of how a composer labelled a work?
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Offline Herman

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2748 on: January 22, 2021, 10:21:46 AM »
But, La Mer has no real programme, it feels like a three movement symphony but is not referred to as such. Do you see a reason it would not be a symphony? Are you suggesting that symphonies work more in the abstract? Beethoven’s 6th would be the kind of problem to that idea. But perhaps I am reading something into your words that you did not say. Your explanation is attractive, but I need to think on it.

Mike

I suspect Debussy really did not want to call anything of his "symphony".

Only at the end of his life, during war, did he revert to Sonatas in form and title.

But I may be wrong.

Offline MusicTurner

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2749 on: January 22, 2021, 10:40:32 AM »
There is a Debussy Symphonie, a piece for piano duet. It's been orchestrated and recorded, but it's an early one-movement work (1880).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2750 on: April 06, 2021, 08:04:05 AM »
Someone here recently recommended hearing the Sibelius recordings of Jussi Jalas (the composer's son-in-law) and I'm grateful to them as I bought the Eloquence set when it first came out but have hardly listened to it. Anyway, I'm listening to 'The Tempest' Suite No.1 now and it is the best I have heard, especially the beautifully poetic 'Berceuse' and the beginning of 'The Storm', which starts unusually quietly but is the most authentically terrifying that I have heard. I'm sure that this is how Sibelius wanted it to sound; there is an authenticity about these performances which are spellbinding:
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2751 on: April 06, 2021, 12:31:45 PM »
Someone here recently recommended hearing the Sibelius recordings of Jussi Jalas (the composer's son-in-law) and I'm grateful to them as I bought the Eloquence set when it first came out but have hardly listened to it. Anyway, I'm listening to 'The Tempest' Suite No.1 now and it is the best I have heard, especially the beautifully poetic 'Berceuse' and the beginning of 'The Storm', which starts unusually quietly but is the most authentically terrifying that I have heard. I'm sure that this is how Sibelius wanted it to sound; there is an authenticity about these performances which are spellbinding:

I didn't know that Sibelius had a son-in-law who was a conductor.  I'll have to look into it...neat!

PD

Offline relm1

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2752 on: April 06, 2021, 02:50:48 PM »
I didn't know that Sibelius had a son-in-law who was a conductor.  I'll have to look into it...neat!

PD

My reaction exactly!  Did he have a kid?  Is there a direct descendant of his around today?  I don't know if genius is passed on but there is some aspect of nostalgia. 

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2753 on: April 06, 2021, 11:30:30 PM »
My reaction exactly!  Did he have a kid?  Is there a direct descendant of his around today?  I don't know if genius is passed on but there is some aspect of nostalgia.
I think that Sibelius had several daughters. There's a funny story about the conductor Thomas Beecham visiting the Sibelius home in Finland and presenting the composer with some records of Sibelius's music which he had recorded. Sibelius, who was very elderly by then, put them on the Gramophone at top volume, so that his daughters and wife ran out of the house into the garden covering their ears.
I'm sure that their must be living relatives of the composer around today. Visiting his house in 2013 with my Finnish friend and my brother is a great memory.

PS After extensive research I can confirm that Sibelius had six daughters. Here he is (in 1915) with some of them at his home 'Ainola' (now the Sibelius Museum), which is well worth visiting. Sibelius and his wife are buried in the garden.

Here are some family reminiscences:


http://www.sibelius.fi/english/ainola/muistoja_perhe.html
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 12:18:38 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline North Star

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2754 on: April 07, 2021, 12:38:21 AM »
My reaction exactly!  Did he have a kid?  Is there a direct descendant of his around today?  I don't know if genius is passed on but there is some aspect of nostalgia.
Jussi Jalas and Margareta Jalas née Sibelius had two children, Tapio Jalas was a flutist, and taught in the Sibelius Academy, he died in 1993. Their daughter Aino Porra is an oboist, and her son Lauri Porra is a bass guitarist in the Finnish power metal band Stratovarius, as well as a composer, with commissions from the Finnish RSO and Lahti Symphony.

Quote
Porra has released five instrumental solo albums, including Entropia (a collaboration with Lahti Symphony Orchestra), released in January 2018 on BIS-records.[5] He has also composed music for films and other media. His orchestral compositions have been performed by the Finnish Radio Orchestra, Trondheim Symphony Orchestra, the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and the New Bedford Symphony[6] His live projects include Lauri Porra Flyover Ensemble,[7] which plays the music from his albums, and the Bach Reimagined project,[8] which performs music based on J.S. Bach's six cello suites arranged and recomposed for electric bass, cello and electronics. Porra has performed in over 50 countries, with performances ranging from The Proms[9] and Wacken Open Air to Pori Jazz. As a session musician he has played on over 50 records with styles ranging from heavy metal to contemporary classical, electronic, hip hop and pop albums.
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Offline North Star

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2755 on: April 07, 2021, 12:49:14 AM »
Aino Porra mentioned this rather different interpretation of Finlandia in one interview..

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/t-RuAyaePik" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/t-RuAyaePik</a>
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2756 on: April 07, 2021, 01:45:29 AM »
Aino Porra mentioned this rather different interpretation of Finlandia in one interview..

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/t-RuAyaePik" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/t-RuAyaePik</a>
Excellent!

https://finland.fi/arts-culture/sisu-sauna-sibelius-and-heavy-metal-too/
« Last Edit: April 07, 2021, 02:02:41 AM by vandermolen »
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).

Offline Pohjolas Daughter

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2757 on: April 07, 2021, 03:57:59 AM »
Thanks for the information! Digging a bit further, I read that one of his daughters (I believe that it was his third?) sadly died at age one and a half years old.

PD

Offline vandermolen

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Re: The Snowshoed Sibelius
« Reply #2758 on: April 07, 2021, 04:57:33 AM »
Thanks for the information! Digging a bit further, I read that one of his daughters (I believe that it was his third?) sadly died at age one and a half years old.

PD

Very sad indeed PD.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

'The test of a work of art is, in the end, our affection for it, not our ability to explain why it is good' (Stanley Kubrick).